TENS of thousands of households are facing bills for collection of their green bins for the first time.
Waste operator Panda is to introduce charges for around 250,000 customers from April.
The waste management company will roll out the new charges in Dublin first, before expanding elsewhere. It expects the average cost of the green bin service for households to be €21 annually.
It comes less than two years after the Government scrapped controversial plans to introduce a minimum charge for green recycling bins.
But it is is expected that the move by such a major player as Panda will mean that other operators quickly follow suit, with global pressures also at play.
New rates for Fingal and Dun Laoghaire will see domestic customers charged 80 cents per lift of the green bin and 4.5 cents per kilogram to collect, process and transport the recyclables.
Recyclable waste has previously been processed free of charge in Ireland – but CEO of Panda Des Crinion has said a collapse in global waste import markets has forced their hand in relation to fees.
China was the world’s biggest processor of recyclable waste but recently closed its doors to importing waste from abroad. Around 95pc of Ireland’s plastic waste and the vast majority of waste paper was shipped to China in 2016.
“With China closed to global companies, the cost of recycling worldwide has escalated dramatically as more companies world-wide jostle for access to reduced outlets in the rest of the world,” he said.
“We have absorbed these increased costs for as long as is possible but it is not sustainable to continue to do so.
“We can’t ship this overseas forever,” he added.
The CEO said he would be “surprised” if other companies did not follow suit and introduce charges.
Mr Crinion said efforts to source cost-effective alternatives around the globe have not been successful.
The company plans to open the country’s first plastic processing plant with hopes to eventually produce refuse sacks or bags for life.
“We’re looking after our own problems here which is the right thing to do,” he said.
Mr Crinion said the company have “thought long and hard” about the introduction of fees and said it was important to him that the operator was “upfront” in the hope of increasing awareness over the correct items to bin in the green bin. Already Panda customers face a charge on green bins if there is mixed waste when it is collected.